Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen, University of Utah
We get it. It’s not easy to part with your beloved running shoes. After all, they are your trusty companions, with you every step of your athletic journey, proud witnesses to your commitment to fitness and wellbeing. They are so comfortable that sometimes you are not sure where you end and they begin. You definitely do not want to give them up.
Unfortunately though, after a lot of use they’re just not able to provide you with the support and cushioning they used to.
In fact, even if you bought your training shoes with good intentions but never took them out of your closet, you still need to replace them as essential elements of the shoes may dry out over time – even without use.
One surefire way to know when it’s to toss them and start over is that they look and feel worn out.
Even if your shoes still look wearable though, the rule of thumb is to replace running shoes every 400 miles. A good way to know how far you have run is to track your running with a smart watch. If you are running 20 miles a week, you will reach this distance after 4-6 months of use.
It’s not only the actual distance you have run that affects how long your shoes will last; it’s also the type of terrain you are running on. If you are only running on the treadmill at the gym, you will need to replace them less often than if you enjoy a lot of road running or off-road trails.
Aside from looking good in your gorgeous new trainers, exercising in good training shoes can affect your running experience. This is because when your shoes have lost their cushioning, you might experience joint pain or even muscle fatigue. You could also feel pain in your hips, knees, ankles, and feet after a run. All of these are signs that it’s time for new shoes.
Experts recommend replacing your athletic shoes once a year, even if you are not experiencing pain and your shoes still look pristine.
So if your shoes show any signs of age, if you have worn them for more than 400 miles, or if you are experiencing any pain during or after running, the time has come. Bid a fond farewell to your used running shoes and hit up your favorite shoe store for a new pair.